The cure for cults that want to deny others
their freedom of speech is more freedom of speech
-- Fredric Rice

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Creationist Cults

Category 12, Topic 9
Message 450 Mon Jun 24, 1991
R.MAHLSTEDT1 [RLM1] at 23:07 EDT

David W.

Haven't I heard (correctly or incorrectly) about a fossil site that contains the footprints of dinosaurs AND men?

RLM1

Scott,

Thanks for the info.
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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 452 Mon Jun 24, 1991
P.NICHOLLS2 [PHIL] at 23:21 EDT

You are of course referring to the infamous Palauxy River Mantracks which turned out to be the tracks of a small bipedal dinosaur on closer inspection. Even creationists have backed away from this one.
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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 457 Tue Jun 25, 1991
S.FAUST [Scott] at 03:03 EDT

---R.MAHLSTEDT1 [RLM1] Message 450

Haven't I heard (correctly or incorrectly) about a fossil site that contains the footprints of dinosaurs AND men?

---P.NICHOLLS2 [PHIL] Message 452

You are of course referring to the infamous Palauxy River Mantracks which turned out to be the tracks of a small bipedal dinosaur on closer inspection. Even creationists have backed away from this one.

Phil is correct, RLM, although the sucker wasn't all THAT small. The pace (not stride!) is up to 1 1/2 meters, Phil, and the prints are well over a foot long, exclusive of the toes! Exclusive of the toes was part of the problem... These (or the infilling in them, rather) hadn't eroded out in many of the tracks there. In addition the dinosaur that made the Taylor trail (the most famous "mantrack" trail) was apparently walking flat-footed with his heels down (plantigrade) rather than tippy toe (digitigrade) as tridactyl dinosaurs normaly did. The result of both these factors were long generally oblong tacks that could be envisioned by those so inclined as "giant" (hope R.LEE isn't reading this) "mantracks".

There was, however, sufficient anatomical evidence even in these rather atypical tracks to indicate to a reasonably critically minded observer that they were dinosaurian. I happen to be acquanted with a fellow who was intrigued by what he read about these tracks in a book called _Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs (and the People Who Knew Them)_ by John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research (son of Henry Morris, ICR president). It was this person, Glen Kuban, who (with much more effort than should have been neccessary) eventually convinced John Morris and the producers of a film on the tracks ("Footprints in Stone" by Films for Christ) that they needed to retract the Paluxy mantrack claims.

Kuban first went to the Paluxy (near Glen Rose, TX, a little over an hour's drive southwest of Fort Worth) in 1980. There was a good drought that year and his examination of the Taylor trail, which is in very hard rock on the bottom of the stream bed, almost immediately convinced him that it was made by a dinosaur. It should be noted that Kuban is an evangelical Christian and went to the Paluxy fully expecting to find genuine mantracks. He was quite enthusiastic about the prospect of contributing to their further documentation.

The anatomical evidence that Kuban found was apparently not good enough for other creationists. But in 1984 there was another drought. With repeated exposure of the tracks due to their study (normally they would remain covered with sediment when the river ran dry) a difference in color between their remaining infilling and the surrounding limestone matrix began to become more and more excentuated. It seems that the infilling had a higher iron content than the matrix and was oxidizing to a reddish brown which stood out clearly against the ivory colored limestone.

Kuban had in fact noticed the infilling in 1980, but it was very faint. The stuff starts out sort of gray or blue-gray and clay like. The border between the infilling and substrate IS quite apparent when you look at a core sample taken at the margin, but is very hard to pickout just looking at the suface before the infilling begins to oxidize. But now, in 1984, the infilling was clearly visible and there was no doubt about it -- the "mantracks" had dinosaurian toes!

It was fall and the river was up again before Kuban could finally cajole the principal "mantrack" advocates to come to the Paluxy and look at what he had found. After viewing the tracks through the bottom of an aquarium, and several hours with Kuban in a local hotel room being made to come to terms with what they had seen, the "mantackers" had little option but to concede the case. John Morris, unfortunately, had the bad form to make his retraction whilst darkly hinting about evolutionists sneaking out at midnight to paint the colorations on the tracks with acid. (The core samples I mentioned before, however, show that the coloration/ infilling association is a subsurface phenomena.)

There are still Paluxy mantrack enthusiasts, btw. Their latest claim is that there are human tracks INSIDE of the dinosaur tracks of the Taylor trail. I was present at a creationism conference in Dayton Tennessee in 1989 where a presentation was given on this one. The evidence offered was pathetic and even the more credulous among the creationists present weren't buying it. (The second reference from Kuban below addresses this claim.)

Here are a few references on the Paluxy stuff. Let me know if you want more. If you live near north central Texas and want a tour of the various "mantrack" sites I might be able to set one up sometime this summer with Ronnie Hastings (who has studied the tracks extensively and has been an associate of Kuban since 1984).

Hastings, Ronnie J., 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Paluxy Mantracks." _Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith_, American Scientific Affiliation, 40(3); pp 144-155.

Kuban, Glen J., 1986. "The Taylor Site 'man tracks' and Review of ICR Impact article 151." _Origins Research_, 9(1), Spr/Sum, pp 1,7-13.

Kuban, Glen J., 1989. "Retracking the Taylor Trail Tracks." _NCSE Reports_, 9(4).

The Hastings article is a useful review and the journal shouldn't be TOO hard to find. (Try a local evangelical college or seminary if other local academic libraries don't have it. Or contact the ASA at P.O. Box 668; Ipswich, MA 01938.)

There was also a whole series of articles by various investigators including Hastings and Kuban which appeared in the journal _Creation/Evolution_, issues XV, XVII, and XXI. There is also a good section on the Paluxy mantracks in Strahler, Arthur N. _Science and Earth History: the Evolution / Creation Controversy_, Prometheus Bks, 1987.


Also, there's no "controversy." Scientists speaking within their own venue don't debate the fact that evolution happens. What they debate is how evolution happens. Religious occultism such as Creationist crap doesn't factor into controversy since science doesn't concern itself with the untestable. Creationist cults like to pretend that there's some big "controversy among scientists and creationists" wherein creationist cult followers argue that the observed facts of evolution doesn't happen some how. In fact that's another creationist lie; no scientist in the venue would pretend to presume that evolution doesn't happen. - flr

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 460 Tue Jun 25, 1991
R.MAHLSTEDT1 [RLM1] at 09:55 EDT

Scott,

Thanks for the great reply to the "man tracks."

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 462 Tue Jun 25, 1991
P.NICHOLLS2 [PHIL] at 20:34 EDT

Well, you guys hardly give a poor physical anthropologist time to get out a reply. :-). Excellent posts all around.

Scott,

I meant small for a dinosaur and didn't mention the size because I was afraid R.LEE would be reading this and he would begin to take over the topic with his obscure paranoria about thesoophy.

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 675 Thu Aug 29, 1991
D.DELL1 [Dave] at 21:43 EDT

So far I've only read through the first 250 messages of this topic, so excuse me if this has already been discussed.

In the appendix of a book I'm currently reading the following is related:

"Recently further important finds of a revolutionary nature have been uncovered in the Paluxy River Bed...a new find about 200m below the dinosaur tracks at Mack's Farm. At the time the water level of the river was very low indeed because of the dry summer, and due to this fact, a carbonized tree branch had been partly uncovered. It had laid bare in the erosion of carbon dioxide containing water. This carbonized branch was lying embedded in the chalk - a portion had been exposed by erosion...The fact that the branch had been carbonized to charcoal and not burned to wood ash demonstrated that it had smouldered after falling burning into the chalk slime...Many small spherical bodies surrounded the charcoal showing that bubble formation had occurred in the surrounding slime due to the heat of the smouldering. The various tracks to be seen in this cretaceous formation at Glen Rose must have been formed contemporaneously with the burying of the burning branch - namely while the slime was soft, for the latter will have solidified but once.

Three samples of charcoal were taken for dating by the C14 method. Independent laboratories carried out this work. A date of approximatley 12,800 years was found.

The carbonized branch was not a root which had grown into the chalk later after it had solidified and then been carbonized. The bubbles and the lack of oxygen during burning both testify to this conclusion.

It is well nigh impossible to avoid the following conclusions as a result of these findings: (1) the branch fell burning into the chalk slime where it was carbonized under oxygen exclusion. (2) This event happened at a time when the slime was soft and capable of (a) receiving tracks and (b) burying burning branches under the exclusion of oxygen to yield charcoal. (3) The fossilized bubbles testify to the soft nature of the slime and to the presence of boiling water in slime to produce steam. (4) Once the slime (chalk slime) had solidified, it would not have become soft again for a second time without losing the already imprinted tracks...Any saurier and/or man tracks in the chalk will, therefore, have been made at the time the burning branch was engulfed by the chalky slime...These finds, if confirmed, are, of course, totally fatal to evolutionary theory." [Dr. A.E. Wilder Smith, "The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution", pp. 177-179]

Any comments?

While, I too, would like to find some "flaws" with evolution Dave

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 676 Thu Aug 29, 1991
P.NICHOLLS2 [PHIL] at 23:17 EDT

My first question would concern the carbon dating. I would like to see the lab report stating the age and the deviation, as well as any notes regarding the sample. How many tests were run? Usually you don't accept a carbon date as firm without running the test two or three times. Context is very important here, as is any evidence of disturbance and possible contamination of the sample.

Also, was the date calculated using the older beta counting method or was it dated using acclerator mass spec methods.

This is good, but you will excuse me for not taking Mr. Smith (or any creationists) at there word on dating methods. I want to see the technical report. If he doesn't cite one there is probably a reason.

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 683 Sat Aug 31, 1991
D.DELL1 [Dave] at 14:04 EDT

Phil:

Smith only says that three samples of the tree were taken and that they were analyzed by "independent" laboratories. He cites Frederick P. Beierle, "Creation Research Society Quarterly", Sept 16, 1979, No. 2, 87-88, 131 as his source for the information. I notice that Smith's book was copyrighted in 1981 so its very possible that the find has already been subequently investigated and/or discredited.

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 685 Sat Aug 31, 1991
J.DOUGLAS5 [J.DOUGLAS5] at 17:16 EDT

Chalks are formed from the remains of Cocolithophorids, algae living in the open oceans. Chalks are ocean floor deposits, not shallow water 'slimes' into which a branch could fall. During deposition they are strongly bioturbated (churned and digested by benthic organisms) so the presence of wood, which would mostly float until decay anyway, is very unlikely.

Serious questions must be raised concerning the source of the 'carbonized' wood that was dated. Was it found in place, IN the rock, or on the surface, perhaps in a crevice in the rock.

I had to present a seminar on chalks back when I was in Graduate School and recall NO mention in any of my sources of WOOD, carbonized or otherwise. Of course its always possible that the rock described wasn't really chalk but still the presence of carbonized wood in any sort of marine sediments is real unlikely. My own guess is that somebody found a stick in the riverbed gravel and decided that it was a fossil contemporaneous with the adjacent rock.

Jim

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 686 Sat Aug 31, 1991
P.NICHOLLS2 [PHIL] at 22:44 EDT

This is why science has to take a show me attitude. It is one thing to make claims like this, but a failure to cite the actually data and instead site some piece of fluff from the CRSQ is a sure sign that all of the truth isn't being told by SSmith.

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 720 Wed Sep 18, 1991
TONEZONE at 03:26 EDT

Phil, Thanks for the info. Now I see why they neglected to footnote or properly document that particular charge.

Is there anything to their claim that they have filmed documentation of not one human footprint, but =many= prints and series of prints within Cambrian rock?. (The book says that they unearthed a trail of prints with a bulldozer and that the evidence is "real, bona fida, impossible to fake") pp69-70

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Category 12, Topic 9
Message 721 Wed Sep 18, 1991
S.FAUST [Scott] at 07:25 EDT

---TONEZONE Message 720

Re: human footprints along with dinosaur footprints in Creataceous (not Cambrian) limestone.

Briefly, Tony, the "mantracks" are actually missidentified dinosaur tracks. The film mentioned in Kohfal's book was retracted by Films for Christ when this was demonstrated by a young evangelical who studied the site (though copies doubtless continue to be shown in church basements around the country). See my message #457 in this topic for more information.

There are some other "tracks" at the Paluxy (the ones on what is known as the park ledge; this is where they have tracks "painted in" in the film and have a child step in one of them) which are simply vague errosional features and not tracks at all. (The surface involved is a marlstone and contains no tracks of any kind.)

I know the sites down there well and can show them to you sometime if you are ever in the north central Texas area.

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"You can lie about ICR all you want." -- Jason Daniel Henderson

"Thank you for your permission however there's never any need to.
Creationist propaganda is already self-debunking." -- Fredric L. Rice

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